Today Google is bringing its Google Now-infused Android launcher to more devices. Anyone with a Nexus device or Google Play edition smartphone running Android 4.4 KitKat can now install Google's launcher, which puts Google Now just a swipe away on your home screen. It also lets users say "OK Google" to activate the feature — but again, this only works when you're on the home screen. Since it's currently limited to Nexus and GPe hardware, other changes are relatively minor. But Google Now Launcher does bring some handy user interface additions like a new wallpaper chooser and larger app icons to more devices; previously these were only found on the Nexus 5.
If Google were to release its launcher on a wider scale, it would enable users to replace a major element of the cluttered software that often ships on devices from companies like Samsung, HTC, and Sony. Android users have long called for Google to do just that, but clearly we're not there yet. With this release, however, those voices are likely to grow louder than ever, and Google also has plenty to gain from widening availability.